Friday, June 8, 2012


Graduation speeches are usually pretty good.  A dear and brilliant friend's delivering one tonight and I'm eager to hear her.

But THIS SPEECH TAKES THE CAKE.  (start it at about 2:30 min. if you can't listen to the whole thing)Imagine a teacher telling students "you're not special?"

It's the best speech I've ever heard for high school aged people and I post this now because, by tomorrow, I will have heard my friend's speech and, no matter how good it was, I needed to say the one in the video is THE BEST :-)

Please let me do YOU feel about EVERYBODY BEING SPECIAL?  Apparently, it's a big hit with social networking because I think kids are used to thinking they ARE special.   This bunch loved the speech. I'm not sure kids on the coasts would.



Chuck said...

Good speech and I agree with him. Too many schools give medals to all of the kids in a contest, etc.

Mustang said...

I absolutely agree with Mr. McCullough. For years, I watched the Gifted and Talented coordinators working tirelessly to convince parents and children that they were “special,” knowing that the coordinator’s success simply meant that he or she would continue to have a job as a Gifted and Talented coordinator. In so many cases, the children were neither gifted, nor talented. Here’s what they were though: insufferable little snots who thought the school system owed them something. These are the same kids who complained loudest about “too much homework,” and if you think the kids were horrible, their parents were ten times worse. After all, they were the parents of special children.

Meanwhile, middle schools continued loading up secondary campuses with GT students who could not do math, write a cogent paragraph, or comprehend a simple passages. High school dropout rates increased, and continue to escalate. That was okay, though, because the Gifted and Talented program expanded into magnet schools, where students grade their own work on the “honor system,” where discipline looks remarkably like anarchy, and visitors can smell the pot the instant they arrive on campus.

I watched high school seniors jockey for position to finish in the top ten percent of their graduating class. In some cases, it was among the worst examples of cutthroat behavior I’ve ever seen. And they were masters of manipulating the system, such as taking AP classes, but refusing to take the AP exam.

None of this meant a hill of beans once these kids arrived at the university campus, where as Mr. McCullough points out, they will find the freshman class packed with much smarter people than they are. We should wonder how it is possible for a student to graduate from high school without the capacity for performing 12th grade math. They still can’t write a decent paragraph, and they simply refuse to read. Research means looking it up on the internet, cut and pasting the Wiki articles, and taking credit for someone else’s work. How is it possible that so many high school graduates “at the top of their class” are required to take remedial classes in college?

Good for this teacher who has the courage to tell these kids the truth. They aren’t special. If they want to succeed, they’d better get off their duff … or join the OWS crowd. By the way, here’s an interesting statistic I saw a few days ago. Eight-five percent of college graduates are returning home to live with their parents. Sounds a lot like Italy, Portugal, and Spain to me …

Silverfiddle said...

This should be mandatory reading for every American.

Ducky's here said...

We were working on visual composition a while back and one of the kids said, "I just don't have an eye."

I kinda snapped and said "Everyone has an eye and we want to see yours."

Special,no, but I won't accept that anyone should believe their expression shouldn't be valued.

Kid said...

Z, I am a firm believer that mediocrity should not be celebrated, and it does seem like there is more of that going on today than not, but also I would add That this sentiment has some value too


Great album too btw - Sly Stone Greatest Hits, which includes one of my all time favorite tunes Everyday People The song of Conservatism.

I recently read where Sly Stone is living out of a Van in LA, still writing stuff, but that probably won't find its way to us.

Z said...

Chuck, my sister's kids, even twenty years ago, could go to awards ceremonies but their friends who didn't win couldn't...imagine?
God forbid the kids who didn't might feel badly?
Schools also have baseball games now, at very young ages, where there's no score, just 10 minutes up at bat, then you're off.

We're not raising children with self respect or dreams anymore, or soldiers, or strong future parents...we're raising WUSSES.

Mustang...I had a feeling you'd appreciate and approve of this speech because we've discussed this before. At our high school, the Freshman kids were reading Dickens out loud for me without stopping for punctuation. After six had read, I stopped them and said "This is not against any one of you, but how the heck can you understand if you're not stopping at the end of sentences, etc.?"
Their teacher told me "we get them like that" Imagine?

A few weeks later, I Sub'd for Seniors who read Descarte's #4 Meditation as well as their teacher and were articulate in discussion about it... The four years at this astonishing private Christian school (where not only Christians go, by the way) had taken an excellent toll.
I just got back from graduation and have to admit I'm a little weepy. I love those kids so much.
Even the little s***'s :-)
Actually, maybe I love them more!

SF; I think so, too. And I was totally cheered at the fact that the audience, including the kids, loved the message.

TONIGHT at the graduation, the commencement speaker said, among other amazing things "Don't let the next 4 years HAPPEN to you"... that knocked me out.
Kids, and everybody else, ought to hear that.'re absolutely right. Everybody has a spark.

At our high school, we have kids pulled into the Senior Musical in the SPring who'd never have DREAMT of being on stage and actually singing in a group. But they, particularly the boys who get inducted, are so thrilled afterwards and have said to me "I just didn't think I could DO that" And they did it well. Or not. But, they did it. amazing stuff. and they'll NEVER forget that they could do it.

Kid, that's what the guy said at the end. EVERYBODY is special.
And that is one of my VERY favorite albums. "...and so on and so on and..."

And that's what I'd heard had happened to Sly. SO SAD. Of course, if it was Marvin Gaye, I'd be looking for him and try to support him the rest of his days! Had he lived past his death by his dad. I think WHAT'S GOING ON is on my all time top five songs. I don't know if I could whittle it down to five, but that'd be on it, that is FOR SURE.

Anonymous said...

Liberals, progressives, Democrats, socialists, Marxists and anarchists have gathered together over time to create an unholy alliance starting in 1964 when LBJ started his Great Society.

Since that time we have seem the VietNam war, immigration without reason, entitlement welfare, Affirmative Action, the rise political clout of for public Labor Unions, race riots, food stamps, Medicaid, decline of religion, abortion on demand, gay rights, suppression of free speech, the rise of the cult of Political Correctness, transfer of wealth, media transformed into propaganda and on and on.

If we continue with this nonsense we are doomed.

Ducky's here said...

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Real basic error.

Z said...

Imp, Gad, you're's almost chilling to read it the way you put it.

viburnum said...

Mustang: "We should wonder how it is possible for a student to graduate from high school without the capacity for performing 12th grade math."

They're lucky if they can do eighth grade math by the time they graduate college, and I know at least one B.A., M.Ed who doesn't know a hypotenuse from a hippopotamus.

Which probably goes a long way towards explaining how we came to be in so much debt, because if the average American actually understood what a trillion was there would be a politician, bureaucrat, or lobbyist hanging from every lamp post in Washington.

Z said...

viburnum and mustang....all of this passing undeserving kids was done to get public dollars into the schools and to help the teachers skate without having to work hard and to appease parents who don't give a hoot.

I heard just today of a black kid who was a pretty good athlete and terrific kid but never got much more than a 2.5 grade average in high school.
His head coach is coach at the school I'm associated with now...the coach told me this kid was approached by a college which wanted public funding they could only get IF a quota of black kids got in.
The kid was accepted but was smart enough to know exactly what had happened and, frankly, was a good enough kid not to like that preferential treatment just because of his color. Well, the good news is the kid really applied himself and made the best of his college education and did very well..>BUT, the point is what kids ARE NOT?

Middle Schools suffer financially when their enrollment's down...they can't hold many kids back!

This is about MONEY and the UNIONS and it's robbing our kids but, more importantly, it's robbed our country of its GOLD, the American kids who used to have such good educations. We're sending jobs away because WE CAN'T do them. how's THAT help a country?

Before Johnson, may I suggest? I think so.

Always On Watch said...

Certainly much better that the recent graduation speech I heard at a local university a few weeks ago. In the speech that I attended, the university's president emphasized two points:

1. "Go out there and make a difference in the community. Be successful."

2. "And have a helluva good time doing it!"

He repeated the second point several times. The students cheered. The parents -- not so much.

-FJ said...

I disagree with some of you here (surprise, surprise). The problem doesn't originate with the kids or the teachers, it lies in the culture and with us. Ours is a culture which in the free and popular sense values "authenticity", yet legislates "passivity". The two are opposites, yet I love them both.

The speech giver devalues the former at the expense of the latter... but I would not give up one freedom to encourage these kids to have a better "example" to follow. The "example" is one we need to "voluntarily" set, and if WE are unwilling to do so, then shame on us, we need to stop complaining, for we're no better than the parents of some G&T kids complaining about the program.

-FJ said...

When you encourage and educate a kid to become a corporate "wage slave" that needs a committee to decide on their next product and twenty specialty "discipline specific" engineers to design it, what do you expect?

The division of labour in our "technological age" is driven by "corporate socialism".

-FJ said...

Corporations are free to pursue money and obscene sulturally damaging endeavors to their hearts content... the only "curb" to their behaviour, ever larger and more restrictive "government".

The cure is currently worse than the disease. The REAL cure is to go back to restricting corporate "charters" to allow them to pursue only "specific" sanctioned endeavors.... AND to limit their ability to compete with individual small business holders.

-FJ said...

Our society has changed. We're no longer a nation of self-sufficient and independent self-reliant souls dispersed in farms and wildernesses across the land. WWI and WWII changed all that. When we "socialized" industry, we forever changed the culture, and the country. And we rebuilt our "educational" structure to FEED that wartime "division of labour".... and never went back to educating "independent" and "self-reliant" souls.

Joe said...

That was the best commencement speech I have ever heard. It was filled with reality, as well as opportunity.

Z said...

FJ...I don't think anyone feels the problem originates with kids and teachers...of course it's a reflection of society!

Joe, I'm so glad you enjoyed it too

Thersites said...

Mustang called the students "insufferable little snots"... so appently some people DO feel that the problem originates with the kids... I sure don't see him assigning responsibility elsewhere.

Z said...

Calling a few kids like he sees it is saying the problem ORIGINATES with them? Or is their behavior a product of our (nasty) times?

He's blaming middle schools very clearly in the second paragraph.
He's blaming the parents in the first paragraph.

Thersites said...

...and I'd like to point out that mustang and I have had this conversation before as well... this ain't Lake Wobegone and half the kids in school ARE below average (by definition). Why the democrats pretend that they all need to go to college is beyond me.

Thersites said...

btw - G&T is a "relative" apellation... in an inner city Baltimore school, a 100 IQ DOES represent the most "gifted" among those attending... but the correspomding program shoul be having a "metal shop"... NOT a computer lab or AP Calculus option.

Thersites said...

of course... that would be proof of "discrimination" in EVERY court of law in the country.

Z said...

I couldn't agree more about the FACT that all people are not destined for college and that it's not a humiliation for being good with one's hands, etc.
In Germany, they have different tracks as they get on in High track, and craftsman track. BUT, when one becomes a mechanic, one is REALLY READY to be a mechanic and works as an intern for years before he's granted a certification to open his own shop, for example.
The crafts are RESPECTED there.

Z said...

I don't think IQ has anything to DO with whether one goes into metal shop or Harvard.

Pris said...

I've told this before, but, I think it says it all about this nonsense of "giving" children self esteem!

My grandson brought home a paper he'd done in Kindergarten, and on it was a sticker that said "terrific work".

I complimented my grandson on it, and he replied, "it doesn't mean anything, everyone got one".

Now, if a five year old "get's it", surely others do as well.

Anonymous said...


"Conservatives want to assure equality at the starting line.

Liberals want to assure equality at the finish line."

Bob said...

Z: Thanks for the link. The teacher was entertaining and made a meaningful presentation.

There are lots of good comments on the blog, and I especially liked Kid's observation, "mediocrity should not be celebrated". We should be expected to praise someone when they are just doing their job.

Z said...

Bob, I think you mean "We should NOT be expected to praise someone when they are just doing their job." Right?
And yes, great sentiment of Kid's

Pris, isn't it sad that your grandson could have felt so special for having done well if he had? It's important that Americans get back to always encouraging people but only rewarding for extra effort or talent.
This problem could partly be due to the public school system which depends so much on 'moving them along' (for the money)...and parents who don't have the character to insist their children only get truly rewarded for excellence.

IMP: that's a fascinating observation...good one.

Thersites said...

I don't think IQ has anything to DO with whether one goes into metal shop or Harvard.

Really? You think anyone can go to Harvard? And NOT have to take some bs AA History or Gay & Lesbian Studies major in order to pass?

If what you say is true, what do we need Harvard for? Orange County Conmunity College would yield just as prestigious a graduate.

Z said...

Thersites, for goodness sake. Of course a low IQ can't get into Harvard. I'd have thought that was obvious.

My point is that one doesn't need to be considered STUPID for NOT going to Harvard, for studying metal work or car repair or carpentry...even WITH an amazing IQ. That's all.

Thersites said...

I agree, then.

Thersites said...

...but wouldn't the teacher have REALLY been brave if he had told "the graduates" of his program that fact as they ENTERED it instead of as they LEFT it?

Epimethius should get no credit for 20-20 hindsight.

Z said...

`Thersites, sure, why not?
It's a good message for us all... we're all special but nobody stands out as precious any more than anyone else.......
but, when you do really well, you should get really good applause!

Kid said...

IMP, that's right, it all shifted into 5th gear with LBJ.

The Russians killed JFK, then used the 'cold war' as misdirection for their takeover from within. And we apparently let them. Going to be hard to get rid of them.

Z said...

you think?

I know Oswald LIVED me it wasn't much of a stretch but I don't hear that hypothesis bandied about much, do you?

I always say "We thought WE won the Cold War and we did, as far as bombs are concerned, but they sent their Communists over to our schools and got us from within"

And I believe that's 1000% true, don't you, Kid?

Kid said...

Z, I will forgive your typo, especially since I have so many of my own. Yes, the Russians killed JFK.

Have you seen this?

It's not my main supporting argument, and it is only a small piece of a much longer interview which is pretty interesting -if you're interested and have the time some day. Look on the right sidebar in youtube. There is one that will appear with the same dude at over an hour long.

I believe the grassy knoll is a headfake. I believe Oswald was part of a team. The other shooter was standing in a storm drain, the kind that has that 4 foot long horizontal slit between the sidewalk and the road surface and one that faced Kennedy's car directly at the moment he was shot. It is or was there. There is no question there were bullets coming from front and back. The Warren commission report had ONE bullet changing direction 180 degrees 3 times.

The storm drain I'm talking about would have allowed someone shooting from it to simply walk out to a rail line 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile away and totally out of the picture of the event that the local cops were focusing on.
I think LBJ knew that it was going to happen as well. He researched the procedure for a Vice-president taking over for a deceased president. This is documented. All of this comes from a documentary I watched and then researched some of the details a few years ago. And it all makes perfect sense.

Then you've got Robert Kennedy taken out.

Then you've got the next Seriously Conservative president - Ronald Reagan - with an assassination attempt.

Just A Few Kooks? JFK, RFK, Reagan. Communism's biggest threats. Assassinated and an attempt in Reagan's case. Reagan was shot 5 times. And how does a president get shot 5 times while surrounded with Secret Service?

Think about Those assassinations and for my money, things get a little clearer. ;-)

Mark said...

I'm 60 years old. All my life I've considered myself special. I am just beginning to understand I'm not, and it is a
liberating feeling.

Mark said...

I'm 60 years old. All my life I've considered myself special. I am just beginning to understand I'm not, and it is a
liberating feeling.

Z said...

Kids, oop! JFK not LBJ, thanks :-)

Your information is certainly compelling. Twice, I've met the guy who was also shot the night RFK was shot. The funny thing is I met him once at a birthday party for a friend's husband which was centered around the husband's birth year when Eisenhower was president. SO, I was seated with Schrade, the ultra liberal, at a table with a big centerpiece that said I LIKE IKE (every table had something from the fifties!:-) I loved ribbing Schrade about that :

"Paul Schrade, a friend of Kennedy and director of the United Auto Workers union, survived being shot in the head. "I started shaking violently. I thought I must have been electrocuted. It felt just like that - an electric shock." He campaigned on behalf of the Kennedy family for a school on the site of the Ambassador"

very nice guy...he suffered some problems later but is mostly okay.

Kid said...

Z, who knows, but it does make a pretty good argument.

You're having an interesting life.

Z said...

Kid, that was a long time ago, but yes, I've met amazing people somehow!

Todd said...

This reminds me a lot of a TEDx talk from last year entitled, “You’re Not That Great: A Motivational Speech.” After years of being kid-gloved people really seem hungry for this kind of message.